County Comment: October: Month of Months
October: Month of Months
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer
October is Disability Awareness Month, and it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Washington County, so proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners in its meeting on October 3.
Peggy Martin, Chair of the Washington County Disability Advisory Committee, accepted the proclamation designating October 2006 as Disabilities Awareness Month in Washington County from Commissioners' President Greg Snook.
October is Disabilities Awareness Month across the United States, a time when government and the private sector take time to recognize the abilities of all people, regardless of physical or mental limitations.
In Washington County, the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) to the Board of County Commissioners works to keep the Board aware of issues facing people with disabilities that need county support, and both physical and attitudinal barriers that we can eliminate by working together. Over the past several years, the DAC has taken a leading role in emergency management training for people with disabilities, in concert with the Washington County Department of Emergency Services. Washington County has representation on the Governor's Transportation Consolidation Committee through the DAC and its work with the Maryland Alliance of Disability Commissions.
The Board of County Commissioners takes this opportunity each year to reflect on the contributions people with disabilities make to the community and to renew its pledge to eliminate barriers to full accessibility in programs and activities sponsored by Washington County.
Also on October 3, the Commissioners proclaimed October 2006 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Washington County.
Carol Bannon of the Washington County Family Violence Council (WCFVC), Vicky Sadehvandi of CASA and Sheriff's Department Captain Doug Mullendore accepted the honor from Commissioner Dori Nipps.
The WCFVC mission is to coordinate the community response to address the safety and well being of abused and neglected adults and children and to hold perpetrators accountable. CASA (Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused, Inc.), a participating agency with the Family Violence Council, has provided comprehensive services to individuals experiencing family violence since 1977.
WCFVC provided services to 3,433 individuals and responded to 24,354 hotline calls in Washington County from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. The Family Violence Council, in its endeavor to educate the community on family violence, documented 2,180 incidents of domestic violence in Washington County. These incidents were referred by local law enforcement agencies, which also support the mission of the Family Violence Council.
The proclamation said that Family Violence respects no racial, religious class or geographic boundaries and has reached epidemic proportion in nearly all regions of our nation. The Commissioners urged all citizens to strive to recognize, understand and respond to the needs of family violence victims within our community.